Upon first discovery in 1796, vaccines were hailed as a game changer in the fight against disease, but in the past 30 years at least, there has been considerable controversy regarding the belief that some vaccines may be linked to other serious diseases and conditions.
In the 1960s, the Sabin live polio vaccine replaced the inactivated Salk vaccine, until some healthy people began contracting polio from the vaccine; use of the live Sabin vaccine was completely suspended in the U.S. in 2000.
In the 1980s, the DPT vaccine (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus), particularly pertussis, was alleged to have caused irreversible brain and neurological damage in some healthy children; the vaccine was replaced in 1996 with one that is ostensibly safer.
The MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) has been a source of ongoing dispute for decades with allegations of links to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and more recently, the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine has come under fire.
In addition to the vaccines themselves, there have been concerns about thimerasol, the preservative used in large batch vaccines. Many vaccines have been reformulated without thimerasol, in single-batch vials.
Sparked by an outbreak of measles in California in December 2014, State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) introduced a vaccine mandate bill, SB277, to California legislators, which was quickly approved by members of the Senate and Assembly. This wasn’t the first vaccine-related bill for Sen. Pan; he had introduced AB2109 in 2012, which mandated that a parent could receive a personal belief exemption only by a meeting with, and signature from a physician and/or surgeon, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
SB277, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 30, 2015, mandates that all school-aged children receive 30–31* vaccinations by the time they are age 6, and a total of 37-38* by the time they are age 18. If not, they will not be permitted to attend public or private school, including preschool.
Andrew Wakefield, a clinical researcher from the U.K. now often described as “one of the leaders of the antivax movement,” is more accurately a leader of the “safe vaccine movement.” He advocates against such “cocktail” vaccines as MMR and DPT.
It’s been 20 years since Wakefield, then M.D., first noticed problems in children vaccinated with MMR (measles-mumps-rubella). A report he wrote in The Lancet regarding a link between autism and gastrointestinal disease was initially lauded but later retracted by the journal, and ultimately Wakefield was barred from practicing medicine in his native country. Now a resident of Texas, Wakefield is director of the Autism Media Channel.
What first alerted him to a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, or autism and gastrointestinal disease, was a pattern he said he observed in autistic children of a bowel condition, which he labeled “autistic enterocolitis.” He said there were “Parental histories of marked gastrointestinal symptoms (GI) in their children with autism, which psychiatrists, pediatricians and psychologists had dismissed as [not related to autism].” His research since that time has been in uncovering whatever link might be hidden in the MMR vaccine.
Research is still in progress, but there is no doubt that intestinal disease and associated intestinal abnormalities are common in children with autism, as well as with other autoimmune disorders.
The Autism Research Institute notes: “Gastrointestinal disorders and associated symptoms are commonly reported in individuals with ASDs, however, it can be difficult to recognize and characterize gastrointestinal dysfunction due to the communication difficulties experienced by many affected individuals.”
A 2006 study noted that 70 percent of children in the study with ASDs had GI Issues, compared to 42 percent of the children with developmental disorders other than ASD, and just 28 percent of children with typical development—a significant difference. Food allergies are also common in this population—30 percent of autistic children vs. 5–8 percent of neurotypical children.
Whether or not your child is autistic cannot be definitively determined by GI problems, but this would certainly be a red flag.
Most parents are not fully prepared to make vaccination decisions for their children that could have a health impact on the rest of their lives. Get more information at the Vaccine Panel at the Conscious Life Expo, 2/19–22/2016. And as always, do your own research. Your child will live with your decisions for a lifetime.
*WLT cross-referenced the text of SB277 with the chart of vaccines mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to total the numbers included in this report. DPT and MMR were each counted as three vaccines for each “cocktail” vaccine. For example, there are two required MMR vaccines, and these were counted as a total of six vaccines. Other sources suggest different numbers of vaccines are required. As always, readers should do their own research and consult with a health care practitioner.